© 2022 United Church of God Australia
All correspondence and questions should be sent to . Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to .
Written by Reg Wright
Today ANZAC Day dawn services are taking place across the nation as tens of thousands of people gather to mark 101 years since the first Gallipoli landings by Australian and New Zealand troops.
From time to time, I have been asked questions from Christians who sincerely want to understand what the Bible teaches about war and therefore how should Christians think about war and the commemoration of war. They ask: Is it all right for a Christian to attend war memorial services such as those held on ANZAC Day.
As a Christian and an Elder I believe that the commandments of God forbid Christians from taking human life directly or indirectly and that bearing arms is contrary to this fundamental teaching of the Bible. Therefore my advice to other Christians is according to my understanding of what the Bible teaches on this subject. I believe the Bible makes it clear that Christians should not voluntarily become engaged in military service. If they are involuntarily engaged in military service, then they should pursue whatever officially permitted means are available in order to respectfully decline conscientiously to bear arms and, to the extent possible, avoid coming under military authority (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-22; Acts 5:29).
I recall a speech that was made some decades ago before the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations). The following excerpt from this speech summarizes a principal point of Christ's teachings.
"War is the most colossal and ruinous social sin that afflicts mankind; it is utterly and irremediably unchristian; in its total method and effect it means everything that Jesus did not mean and it means nothing that He did mean; it is a more blatant denial of every Christian doctrine about God and man than all the theoretical atheists on earth ever could devise" (Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, minister and professor).
From a human point of view, many consider serving in the military to be an honourable act, but there is a better way for a Christian. When on earth Jesus said His disciples would fight to prevent His capture and arrest -- if His Kingdom was of the world at that time (John 18:36). But it wasn't, and they didn't. The Christian, a citizen of that Kingdom, still awaits its establishment (Philippians 3:20).
Christ will fight when the time for God's Kingdom to be established comes (Revelation 19:11-14); but, again, God has the authority to order that righteous war. Additionally, He will soon thereafter order an end to all weapon production, the breakdown of existing weapons, as well as cessation of military training altogether (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
In the meantime, we continue to live in this age of human rule under Satan's influence. And the reality is the freedoms that we enjoy can be largely attributed to the sacrifice of many of our country men and women in defending our nation against invasion. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice – they gave their lives. Not to give thankfulness for this sacrifice would be expressing ingratitude and disrespect. Attending a war memorial service on such days as ANZAC Day – not to glorify war -- but to honour those who gave their lives in defence of our country – many of whom are family members, relatives and friends – is one way of showing this gratitude and respect.
I believe attending or not attending a war memorial service is a matter of personal conscience and the decision is left to the individual.
Remembering the fallen.
A study of a devastating war begun a hundred years ago can be an exercise in nostalgia and academic history. Only a few people alive today can even remember this war in their earliest memories. For we who take a moment to reflect on what happened, let's be sure to take away a lesson that helps us understand our present world: History existed before our birth, it marches on now, and decisions made by people long ago and far away continue to impact our lives today.
Although our headlines are full of terror, we can be at peace and full of hope—hope in the coming Kingdom of God, which Jesus Christ will establish on earth at His return.
"Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14, 15). "The gospel of the Kingdom of God" is the message Jesus Christ instructs His followers to believe. This booklet will help you understand and believe this wonderful good news Jesus Christ announced to humanity!
Many religious people embrace the idea of loving others as themselves but remain blissfully unaware of how the Bible defines love. As a result, they do not understand the necessity of putting into practice the biblical principles that determine the success or failure of their relationships.
We hope this booklet will inspire you to so appreciate the wisdom of God that you will look to His commandments as your standard for behaviour. This is the example set for us by Jesus Christ (John 15:10; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).
In this booklet we will examine the Bible's teaching on conversion—it is not just a one-time event. Instead the Scriptures reveal that it is a process. The process begins with God's calling, followed by the key steps of repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, finally climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ — when the dead in Christ are resurrected to immortality and given eternal life — the ultimate transformation!
Immortal Souls and Eternal Life? Heaven and Hell? Reincarnation? Resurrections? What about reported life-after-death experiences? These ideas can't all be right! Don't miss this opportunity to find out more about this important subject!
Suffering. It's not a pleasant subject to discuss, but a necessary one. Suffering plagues our world. In its many forms it affects us physically, psychologically and emotionally. This featured booklet will help you understand how suffering began, how it will end—and why it continues.
Have you ever considered how much the Easter holiday just doesn’t add up? Start with the timing: Jesus said He would be in the tomb three days and three nights. But do the math—a Good Friday crucifixion to a resurrection on Sunday morning is at most only one day and small parts of two others, plus two nights. Also, John’s Gospel tells us Jesus was already resurrected before sunrise, so we can’t count that part of a day. Does the Bible offer a solution? Yes, and when we understand it, everything adds up perfectly! But that’s not all that doesn’t add up about the Easter holiday. What do rabbits, colored eggs and sunrise religious services have to do with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? Discover the fascinating historical truth about all this and much more in this issue of Beyond Today!